MANILA, Philippines – Anthony Bourdain has been known to be quite the jack of all trades: host, author, comic book writer, and of course, chef. Apparently, the jetsetting host of Parts Unknown is also a jiu-jitsu fighter – a newly-minted gold medalist to boot.
Anthony joined the Blue Belt Masters 5 Middleweight Division of the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Foundation) New York Spring International Open Championship on April 9 and won first place after defeating Alexei Iskhakov, the Jiu-Jitsu Times reported.
It was partly a stroke of luck that brought him to the finals after an earlier competitor defaulted. Following his podium finish, he tweeted, "I admit, I’m pretty happy about this."
I admit, I’m pretty happy about this. #ibjjf @RenzoGracieBJJ @igorgracie pic.twitter.com/zxgmRQlzzh — Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) April 9, 2016
Anthony's wife, Ottavia, also expressed how proud she was on Twitter.
So proud of my husband! @ibjjf New York Open champion! pic.twitter.com/pUsbMgdzQL — Ottavia Bourdain (@OttaviaBourdain) April 9, 2016
Ottavia, a jiu-jitsu practitioner and competitor herself, had influenced an initially reluctant Anthony into taking up the martial art. In an interview together with his wife, the latter told sports website SB Nation: "I went in, and I did an hour private, and I guess this happens to a lot of people. I came out of it thinking, ‘I suck, but I didn't suck that horribly.'"
First competition turned out okay! A photo posted by anthonybourdain (@anthonybourdain) on Apr 9, 2016 at 12:23pm PDT
"I started thinking about it a lot afterward. I was proud of myself, and other than the pain part initially, I felt pretty good," he continued. "I just kept doing it, and now I'm hooked."
His wife explained, "He used to complain about me watching the instructionals for hours on end, and now he's right there with me, mesmerized."
In season 6 (2015) of Parts Unknown, he trained at Ralph Gracie Jiu-jitsu, a reputable academy in San Francisco. He even took out renowned black belter Kurt Osiander out for dinner.
In the episode, he described jiu-jitsu, as quoted by Eater: "Despite the fact that people are trying to basically choke you unconscious on the mats that you're scrambling for your life in a sea of sweat, it's a remarkably and refreshingly testosterone-free zone... It's a douche-free environment."
"Every morning, 7am, I'm here. And for the next hour or two hours or sometimes more, I'm just getting crushed." he said of his training regimen. "Humility. Jiu-jitsu gives you that in spades."